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Japan industrial output up 5.9 percent in May

Japan industrial output up 5.9 percent in May

Japan's industrial output rose for the third straight month in May, the government said Monday, as prospects for recovering demand encouraged manufacturers in the world's No. 2 economy.
Industrial production increased 5.9 percent from a month earlier, matching a rise in April that marked the biggest jump in 56 years.
Economists, however, had hoped for slightly better results. The figure missed the 6.7 percent growth forecast in a Kyodo news agency market survey.
The results add to evidence that Japanese companies are coming back to life after an unprecedented plunge in global demand dragged the country into its steepest recession since World War II. Massive government stimulus steps in China _ the biggest buyer of Japan's exports _ is helping fuel demand for equipment and machinery.
Industrial production is showing signs of "upward movement," according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Strong gains among companies making transport equipment, electronic parts and steel products contributed to the results.
The government predicts output will rise 3.1 percent in June and 0.9 percent in July.
Before output began rising in March, it had posted a five-month losing streak as some of Japan's biggest names like Toyota and Sony announced steep cutbacks in production and jobs. A large chunk of Japan's factory capacity remains unused even now, with output down about 30 percent from the same month last year.
The data also showed that inventory in May fell 0.6 percent from the previous month in the fifth straight month of decline, while shipments rose 4.5 percent.
While the recession appears to be easing its grip on companies, workers remain vulnerable amid insecurity about wages and jobs.
Retail sales fell 2.8 percent in May, extending its losing streak to nine months, the government said in a separate report that added to Japan's mixed economic picture.
Last week the country's key consumer price index tumbled at a record pace in May and fueled fears of deflation.
Other key indicators are due out this week. The government will report unemployment and household spending figures Tuesday. The Bank of Japan will release its closely watched "tankan" survey of corporate sentiment on Wednesday.


Updated : 2021-03-07 19:22 GMT+08:00